Ideas for Olympic protest on Tibet.

The latest round in China’s colonial rape of Tibet.

What’s to say? Online petition here if you feel inclined: I’ve signed it without illusions.

The Dalai Lama (bless him) has sensibly not called for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. The Chinese authorities will try to avoid nasty headlines during the Games, but that effect will be temporary. What can the athletes and the foreign spectators do in Beijing? Not keep mum, a line the British Olympic Committee shamefully tried to force on British athletes. But isolated protests from the podium will never reach Chinese TV screens. You need some simple, and in themselves unobjectionable, symbols to be used en masse in the streets and subways of the city. We need better ideas.

The upturned begging bowl of the Burmese monks was a powerful gesture, and can be made with two outstretched hands: but it only works in a Buddhist society, and as an insult – you are not fit to give me alms – you can only use it to policemen and other representatives of State power.

Wearing this would get you thrown out:

西藏独立 : Free Tibet.

Less risky ideas: wearing a name badge in Tibetan characters – Tibetans could offer the transliteration as an online service; a pin with the flag ot Tibet, or a blue-and-red scarf. Here’s the flag:



As a thought experiment in alternative history, would Tibet’s fate in the twentieth century have been happier if its leaders had accepted falling into the British imperial sphere of influence in 1904 at the time of the Younghusband expedition? Since the object of the venture was to forestall Russian expansionism, the Raj didn’t mind the reinforcement of Chinese influence that was the actual net result. China was a weak power then. But this didn’t work out for the best.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web